In the vast majority of cases financial and property matters can be resolved by agreement and then either recorded in a formal separation agreement or, in the case of a divorce or judicial separation, approved by the Court in what is often called a ‘consent order’.
If it is not possible to resolve matters by agreement you can make an application to the Court for what is called ‘a financial remedy’ to settle financial issues following divorce, dissolution of civil partnership or judicial separation. The court is able to make a wide range of orders providing for cash payments, transfer of property or other assets, maintenance and pension sharing.
Unless there are exceptional circumstances you will be expected to attend a session with a mediator before making an application to the court known as a MIAMs meeting. This is to determine whether a non-court process may assist you.
After the application has been issued you and your partner will be required to:-
- Complete a Form E which is a document setting out all your financial details
- Produce copies of documents which your lawyer will explain, such as bank or building society statements, payslips, valuations and accounts.
The court will then fix a first directions appointment (FDA) before a District Judge who will identify the issues between you and make orders such as dealing with the valuation of your assets.
If things are not sorted out at the FDA the next stage is a Financial Dispute Resolution appointment (FDR) when you and your partner will both attend a Court hearing, where the District Judge, with the assistance of your solicitor, will try to help you to reach an agreement on your finances. At the FDR the Judge will usually indicate what he or she thinks would be a reasonable outcome.
If this still does not result in a settlement there will be a final hearing at a later date heard by a different District Judge. It will be several months before you have an appointment for a final hearing. At any time before the final hearing it is possible to reach an agreement and submit a consent order to the judge for approval.
Sometimes financial arrangements can be settled through a ‘clean break’, which means a lump sum payment and/or property transfer and no ongoing maintenance. A clean break ends the financial relationship between you and you partner and there can be no further claims.
Often there may not be enough assets for a ‘clean break’ and for that or some other reason regular maintenance payments from one person to the other may be needed. These can be open-ended (during joint lives or until the person receiving the payments remarries or enters a new civil partnership) or for a fixed period of time.
Why choose us?
The Court process can be time consuming and very daunting without expert assistance. Our experienced team is well qualified to guide you through the various stages and provide the support and advice that will be needed.
Please get in touch
Email: FamilyLaw@gilbertstephens.co.uk or contact one of our team